Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

20 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:19 NASB  And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

You know how business works: Supply and demand.  Or better yet: Demand and supply.  In other words, if the public wants something, even if they don’t need it, someone, somewhere will start supplying that want.  And then someone else says: I can make a better widget and they start making and suppling a better widget.  And we call that progress.  You would think with all of the widgets that this world has, we would run out of demand or widgets…. But it doesn’t work that way.  The more widgets we have, the more widgets we want and the more widgets that are in the supply chain due to that want.  We never run out of widgets.

I am so thankful that God does not operate on the business principles of widgets.  He on the other hand operates on the “God principle.”  What’s that, you say?  The God principle is: God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Let’s think about what is involved in this principle that only God can meet and do.

First there has to be a need.  I hear you…. You are saying that there are lots and lots of needs.  I agree that there are plenty of needs but you have to understand something about God.  Not everything we think is a “need” is actually a need in God’s mind and heart.  To understand the difference, let’s do a comparison between what a child thinks they need and what you know they need.  A child sees a toy and “thinks” they need that toy.  In fact that child will go to great lengths to tell you why they need that toy.  And they might cry and beg and plead to have that toy.  To them it is the most important thing in their life right now.  They will simply say to you that they MUST have it.  You on the other hand, know exactly what that toy is….. It is a TOY and you also know what that child really needs is not a toy but that child needs a nap.  The child is argumentative and fussy and they need a nap, not a toy.  So what happens….????  Hopefully, the child gets to go to bed for their nap.  I simply say this to show the difference on how a child thinks and how a parent knows better.  The parent knows what the child really needs.

In much the same way, God knows what our REAL needs are.  He knows what’s best for us and not only us but he knows what’s best to meet our real needs in the long run.  Our problem is that we don’t have the knowledge that God does and we need to learn to “trust and obey” Him rather than our immediate cravings.  Verse of scripture, you say.  OK… Here is what I am talking about: But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:25-27 NASB). 

Did you catch that?  We do not know how to pray as we should.  In other words, we don’t even know what our needs are.  We can’t see, know or understand all of the implications of what we even ask for.  For every action there are reactions that happen and we can’t see or know all of the results.  We need to trust the one who knows all things so that we can walk in peace knowing that God causes all things to work together for good… (Rom 8:28).

Now I would be remiss if I did not point out that this verse says needs and not “wants.”   And my God will supply all your needs according to His… So what is the difference between needs and wants?  How do you know the difference?  In fact, how do you even know what to pray for if you don’t know the difference between needs and wants?  My friend, the truth is, you don’t need to know the difference between needs and wants.  All you need to know is your own “hearts desire.”  All you need to do is let your Heavenly Father know the “desires of your heart” and let Him sort out what the needs are and what the “wants” are.  And sometimes, just sometimes, He even lets you have what your “wants” are just because He is a loving and giving God.  Here is what God says to you and me: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).  He is a BIG God and He can sort it all out.  All we need to do is be faithful in our asking, seeking and knocking….

I want to point out one last thing about this VOTD and that is that God is not stingy.  This verse says that He will richly supply all your needs.  Not some or a few or even the top five.  No, No.  He will richly supply all your needs.  He doesn’t limit you to a few needs.  He supplies all your needs.  So the next time your mind is thinking that maybe God doesn’t hear you or that you think He doesn’t care, tell Satan to get behind you for he is not setting his mind on God’s way of thinking.  God promises in this verse to richly supply all your needs and He WILL DO IT, in His time and in His way.  Realize, God’s timing is perfect and all that He does, He does in love and in Christ Jesus.

Lord, so many, many times Satan tries to use his best tool on me: doubt.  He wants me to doubt your love.  He wants me to doubt your care.  He wants me to doubt you at every turn.  But Lord I know you love me and that you sent your Son, Jesus to die on a cross for my sins.  It was me that should have been on that cross and you took my place.  Lord, I love you and I want you to live in me this day.  Help me to call on you in everything I say and do so that I might say and do the right thing every time.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


19 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:18 NASB  But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

Our VOTD starts off with a transition word: but.  We need to ask ourselves: Why is it there?  What are we transitioning from?  We are transitioning from the focus on the Philippian Christian’s rewards to Paul’s acceptance of their gift to him.  Here is the previous verses so we can see this transition:
Philippians 4:15-17 NASB
(15)  You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;
(16)  for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
(17)  Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account
You see from these verses that the focus is on the Philippian Christians and their reward for the gift that they have given to Paul in love.

But now the focus is on Paul and how he felt about their gift given in love.  I want you to notice that the amount of the gift is not stated.  And in fact that the gift its self is not stated.  Why is that?  It is because it is not important.  What you give is not as important as HOW it is given.  You can give grudgingly and under compulsion.  In other words, you are forced to give what you really don’t want to give.  If it was really left up to you, you wouldn’t give but for some reason, whatever it may be, you feel you have to give.  I wonder how many Christians, who give to the church feel this way.  It might supprise you that God doesn’t what you give with this attitude.  He says in His Holy, and Pure word that: Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB).  So, if this is your attitude in your giving, then I say to you: keep your money because God doesn’t want you to give it with the wrong attitude.

Well, what is the right attitude?  The same verse above tells us the correct attitude: for God loves a cheerful giver.  So you ask me: How do you get to the place in your life where you have the right attitude to be a cheerful giver?  You get to that place by first giving yourself to the Lord.  That’s right.  You first have to give yourself and then you will want to give of your time, talents and money to the Lord.  Here it is in the Scriptures: For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:3-5 NASB).  They begged to be able to participate in the support of the saints.  Why?  Because they first gave themselves to the Lord.  When you first give yourself to the Lord, it changes your whole attitude of giving.

And when you give with the right attitude, then it is received as a blessing from God.  That is how Paul viewed the Philippian Christians gift to him.  He says: I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.  Because the Philippian Christians had given with the correct attitude, Paul could pen these words in truth.  Their gift made Paul feel that he had an abundance.  He saw their gift as a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.  And I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Paul tells us in the very next verse, which we will cover tomorrow, how he believed that God was going to bless them for their sacrificial giving to him: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NASB).

I believe the main point that the Lord wants us to get from today’s VOTD is that we need to examine our own hearts, minds and very souls on how we feel about our giving.  We need to see if there is even the slightest tinge of reluctance to give what we give to God.  We need to get down on our knees before His throne of grace and ask Him to search our heart and reveal to us if there is any hidden resentment in our giving.  If there is, then we need to ask Him: Lord what do you want me to do about it? 

Let me ask you a question: Do you have a hobby?  You know, something you just enjoy doing.  Maybe it is reading.  Or maybe it is working a crossword puzzle.  Or maybe it is working in your wood shop…  It could be any number of things.  Second question: Why?  Why do you enjoy it?  You don’t know???  Well, let me challenge you.  Do yourself a favor and ask the Lord to change your mind and your heart so that you enjoy giving to the Lord as much as you enjoy giving to your hobby.  Ask Him to change your heart and mind and your thoughts.  Is anything too hard for God?  NO!!!  He can change you so that you look forward to giving to Him as much as you do giving to yourself. 

Lord, please examine me.  See if there be any wicked way in me.  Reveal my deepest thoughts.  Examine my heart and mind and soul.  Lord, I say with my lips that I love you but deep down I need you to reveal to me “how much” I love you.  Lord help me to first give more of myself to you so that I can beg you to have the favor of giving more to others.  Lord, please make me the man that I should be.  Use me this day for your good will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


18 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:17 NASB  Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

Our VOTD has direct ties to the previous verse in which Paul says: for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs (Philippians 4:16 NASB).  So, we see that Paul is explaining to the Philippian Christians, who were very giving in their love for Paul, how he thought about their gifts that they gave more than once to meet his needs.

First, Paul says Not that I seek the gift itself.  What does he mean by that phrase?  I believe that Paul was saying that his life, his heart and mind as well as his wants, needs and desires were not governed by “things” like the gifts that were given him.  We know this to be true because he had previously told us that Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13 NASB).  The bottom line to what Paul says to us is that his motive for doing what he does is never and has never been to get gifts from others.  He doesn’t need the physical gifts but he does long for and desires and works for others to profit from giving gifts that increase to their account.  Now if that seems like “double talk” let me see if I can explain what Paul means in our VOTD.

Do you have a savings account in your bank?  What happens when you make a deposit in your savings account?  The total increases, much to your joy.  You feel blessed because it has increased.  In much the same way, when you give of your time, energy or money to others, your account in heaven has increased because you have been faithful to do what God wants you to do. 

Jesus wants us to give to others.  The scriptures are full of promises of His rewards for our gifts to others.  Even the poor man that gives, the Lord will reward.  Do you remember the widows and her two mites?  Do you remember what Jesus said about her?  And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 NASB).  Here is what God says about the poor that give: One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17 NASB).  In other words, God increases your account.

God promises to increase our account in several scriptures.  I know you remember this one: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows (Malachi 3:10 NASB).  I personally believe that He will not only pour out for you a blessing for us here when we are faithful to tithe but He will also pour out for you a blessing for us in heaven by increases our account there. 

I want you to remember, it is not how big or how much the gift is worth that makes the difference.  God wants us to give of ourselves most of all.  He wants us to give of our time, energy and talents.  When you give of yourself, then you are displaying your love for him.  And He says to you: “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42 NASB).

But we need to always remember that as we give of ourselves, our thoughts should never be for the praise of others.  Jesus condemned the Scribes and Pharisees for doing the deeds to be noticed by men:  “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments (Matthew 23:5 NASB).  “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (Matthew 6:2 NASB).  Our good deeds need to have no hidden motives and should always come from a pure and good heart.  The only motive and the only reason that we give is because we love God and want to give back to Him for all of the love and the goodness that He has shown us.  In fact, the Holy Scripture tells us the way it really is: We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 NASB).

So here is the bottom line for today’s VOTD:  If you want your reward to be great in heaven, then you can’t give to others to be praised by them.  You can give to others because you Love the Lord and want to be faithful to do and share with others because you love Him and want to be obedient to Him.  When you give your gifts, with the right motive, then God cause it to increase the profit to your account.

Lord, help me to always remember that I am never ever to do anything for the praise of men.  Help me to always do whatever I do because I love you and I want to praise you and I want to give back just some of the goodness and kindness that you have shown me.  Lord, help me to always be generous in my giving.  Help me to always think like you think and to remember to do as I would have others do unto me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


17 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:16 NASB  for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

How often do you get paid?  Once a week.  Once every two weeks.  Once a month.  How would you feel if you NEVER knew when you were going to get paid or IF you were even going to be paid… Wow.  Now there’s a concept most of us have not even thought about or if we did it was because we were without a job and we were worried sick wondering how we were going to meet our expenses.  Some of us are worried now, wondering how we are going to pay all of our bills with our meager incomes. 

Well, try this on for size: You have a job from the Lord God but you never know if or when you are going to be paid.  You are living on FAITH and faith alone that these verses are true: “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:31-34 NASB).  This is exactly how Paul lived.  God met his needs, wants and desires.  And He will do the same for us if we simply TRUST Him!!!

Most of us cannot live in complete faith like Paul did and many missionaries do today.  But I believe these verses above are true and the Lord will supply our every need just as He says: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NASB).  But Satan steals many, many of our victories through our worry and anxiety.  That is the exact reason Jesus says to us: So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So what strikes you as different about our VOTD?  How does it read to you?  Is this the norm for the churches?  No.  Why is it not the norm?  Shouldn’t it be…  Yes, it should be the norm for ALL of the churches that they give more than once to meet the needs of those in the ministry and service of the Lord.  I want you to see that the Lord used the Philippian Church to minister to Paul and to supply all his needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.   We learn some vital facts in this verse.  First, Paul tells us that even in Thessalonica the Christians from Philippi met his needs and sent him a gift of love.  So the question comes to mind, why would Paul use this term even in Thessalonica?  Maybe because it is close to Philippi.  According to my research, Thessalonica was only about 100 miles from Philippi.  For us today, it is just a couple of hours drive but for them it was a long walk.  But it was still close.  And yet, they sent Paul a gift more than once.  Why did they do that?  Maybe it was because: 1. They loved the Lord and wanted to minister to His servants.  And 2.  Maybe it was because the Lord burdened their hearts to do what they were doing.  And 3. Maybe, they just plain knew he needed it and they wanted to meet his needs.  For whatever the reason, they did what I believe was the right thing to do.  Jesus says to us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy (Matthew 5:7 NASB).  Did they not show mercy by giving of themselves to Paul’s ministry?  Were they not involved in the ministry by their help?  Should we not do the same, through our own personal giving?

There are some facts that come out in this VOTD that we need to emulate.  First, we need to give to others even though it may be close to home.  Paul was only 100 miles or so from Philippi and they sent him a gift.  We need to do the same.  We need to give to needs in our own areas that we live move and have our being.  We need to give as the Lord burdens our hearts to local charities like Mana Café and Salvation Army.  There are others, but the point is, we need to give.  Don’t be stingy.  … Freely you received, freely give (Matthew 10:8 NASB).

The second thing that comes to mind is that we need to do it consistently.  Our VOTD says that the Philippian church sent a gift more than once.  The number of times is not as important as the consistency.  Over and over and over again and again.  How often is just a number.  But consistency is a way of life.  We as Christians should have a reputation for being a “soft touch.”  That is not a bad thing.  That is a good thing.  Just as Jesus went around doing His ministry by healing the sick, so should we by giving of our material possessions and our time and talents to meet the needs of others.  Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people (Matthew 4:23 NASB).

The last thing I want us to think about is: Why don’t we give?  Why are we stingy?  Why don’t we share?  It all comes back to that basic sin in our very core being: GREED.  We are not sharing with others because we let greed take over our thoughts, our actions and our way of being.  Just remember what Jesus said to us: Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”  (Luke 12:15 NASB).

You are what you think.  If you think of yourself as a giving person, then you will become what you think:  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: …  (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).  So the bottom line is: If you are not the person you need to be and you know that you need to change, then ask the Lord to help you to change into the person that you should be.  He can do all things and with Him nothing is impossible.  He can make you into the person you know you should be.  Trust Him and He will do it.

Lord, your Holy word is true when it says “there is none righteous.”  You said it correctly when you said there is none good but God.  We all need to become more like Jesus and give of our time, talents and money.  Lord, please make me more the man that I should be.  Lord, I need to give more and do more.  Please burden my heart and motivate me to be more like you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


16 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:15 NASB  You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;

This is a sad, sad verse.  It should speak to Christians everywhere.  When Paul says no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, he is stating that no one cares enough to share.  It is one thing to care and it is a whole different matter to share.  Everyone can think about others.  Everyone can feel sorry for the less fortunate.  Everyone can feel pity and want to help.  But the question is: Will you?  And in this verse we find the reality of life.  No one went the extra mile.  No one did what Jesus said in these verses: “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:40-42 NASB).

So the question comes to mind: Why don’t we want to share with others?  Why don’t we care enough to share?  What is our problem with sharing?  Why is it that most people do share?  Do you want one word that covers it all?  Do you want one word that says it all?  Do you want one word that sums up our problem?  Well, here is one word that reveals our problem in a nutshell: GREED!  That’s right, greed is our basic problem in every situation.  It is the reason we don’t care enough to share.  It is the reason we don’t give of our possessions or our time or put our energy into the situation to help.  It is the one reason that we don’t even give of ourselves.  Where does our greed come from?  It comes from deep down in our basic nature, our sin nature.  We were born with a sin nature and greed is at its very basic heart.  Isn’t greed or desire for things what caused the very first sin?  Here it is; read what greed looks like on the pages of Holy Writ: When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6 NASB).

Now don’t blame Eve because if you had been there, you would have done the same thing.  You can’t point your finger at someone else without having three fingers pointing back at you.  You and I are in the same boat.  We need to understand what greed is and then we need to understand how to overcome that greed.  Jesus says to us: Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”  (Luke 12:15 NASB).  Covetousness can grab ahold of anyone of us at any time.  Covetousness is any time we are greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious mean having or showing a strong desire for especially material possessions. Covetous implies inordinate desire often for another’s possessionsAnd Jesus warns us to be on your guard against every form of greed.

What causes us to be greedy?  Jesus tells us what causes us to be greedy in this verse:
And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on (Luke 12:22 NASB).  Our worry about what we will eat or wear or where we will live causes us to not care enough to share.  None of us knows the future and we worry over it and when we worry over our future it causes us to not want to share.  When our worry gets strong enough it causes us to be greedy.  Do you see how worry can lead you to sin?  Concern for the future in not a sin.  But greedy for things, is a sin.  And God says to us that we are not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

So question is: How do we get to the state of mind where we are not worried about all of the necessities of life that we need.  How do we get to the state of mind where we can care enough to share with others like the Philippian church did?  Here is how Jesus told us to think: “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:23-34 NASB).

So here is the bottom line: We need to stop worrying and start trusting God for everything.  We need to trust Him that He will do exactly what He says He will do in these verses.  He says that if we will seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  When we seek His kingdom, we are seeking to do His will in everything we think, say and do.  As we seek to please Him, then He provides for our every need.  We can’t out-give God.  He will richly supply our every need.  All we have to do is trust Him.  And when we trust and obey, it frees us from our greed…..

Lord, please help me to not be greedy.  Help me to not only care but to share of my wealth and possessions.  Help me to be like Zaccheus who said Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor… Lord help me to freely give because I have freely received.  Help me to trust you for my every need.  Lord, I want to be yours in everything I say and do.  Please use me this day for your good will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


15 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:14 NASB  Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

Let’s review to see how we got to this verse.  Paul says: Philippians 4:11-13 NASB
(11)  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
(12)  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
(13)  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

So, even though Paul does not that I speak from want and that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances he is in, and that he can do all things through Him who strengthens me, he still says to the Philippian Christians, nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.  Why does he say that?  It is because he has physical needs and the Philippian Christians have tried in some small way to meet those physical needs.  We all have physical needs.  We need food, clothing and shelter to live and survive.  Paul expressed to Timothy some of his desires for his physical needs and desires when he said to Timothy: When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments (2 Timothy 4:13 NASB).  There is no sin in having desires to meet your physical needs and desires as long as it doesn’t go against what the Bible tells us as in these verses: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:15-16 NASB). 

We all need to remember that covetousness is a sin and many a Christian has gone astray by longing for and desiring “other things” that they should not desire.  The tenth commandment is still valid today: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17 NASB).  We need to remember what Jesus says to us: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-34 NASB).

The one thing that we need to pick up on in this VOTD is that the Philippian Church had a desire to share with Paul and to meet his needs.  We need to have that same desire.  We need to have the desire to share with others.  James says it this way: What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18 NASB).

Now even though it was the whole Philippian Church that shared with Paul, the church is made up of individuals.  It is an individual responsibility to share with others.  Let me ask you a question: When is the last time you shared what you have with others?  When is the last time that you gave to the food pantry?  When is the last time you gave your clothes to the clothes give-away?  When is the last time that you gave anything to anyone?  I believe the Lord is calling is all to account with this VOTD to examine ourselves in light of their willingness to help Paul.  The lesson for all of us is in these verses: Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share (1 Timothy 6:17-18 NASB).

Lord, please burden my heart to share with others.  Lord, I know that I don’t share enough.  Please motivate me to give more generously and to be ready to help those in need.  Lord, you freely gave to us.  Help me to freely give to others.  Help me to be instant in my responses to share with others.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


14 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:13 NASB  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

This verse is the secret that was mentioned in the previous verse: I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need (Philippians 4:12 NASB).  The secret is that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  It is the secret to living the Christian life.  It is the secret to being victorious in Christ.  It is the secret to getting the victory over sin in your life.  It is the secret to being filled with the Spirit.  Do you get the message?  It is that Jesus is exactly who He said He is!!! He is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and He is the ONLY Life and that is because He is the ONLY way we can do all things.  Why?  Because He is the ONLY one who can give you and me the strength to do all things.

I want us to look at this verse in three different perspectives.  First, I want us to notice the scope of this verse.  Next, I want us to see what this verse referring to.  Lastly, I want us to think about how we are to do what the Lord wants us to do.

OK, what is the scope of this verse?  I believe the scope of this verse covers all.  What does the word all mean to you?  All means all to me.  That means there is nothing left out.  All is all inclusive.  All is everything with nothing excluded.  Here, let’s let Webster’s give us a better definition: The whole quantity, extent, duration, amount, quality, or degree; as, all the wheat; all the land; all the year; all the strength. This word signifies then, the whole or entire thing, or all the parts or particulars which compose it. It always precedes the definitive adjectives, the, my, thy, his, our, your, their; as, all the cattle; all my labor; all thy goods; all his wealth; all our families; all your citizens; all their property.  Wholly; completely; entirely; as all along; all bedewed; all over.

How does the scope of this verse relate to what you do? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB).  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 NASB).  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23-24 NASB).  Here is the scope of all summed up in one verse: Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11 NASB).

Next, I want us to think about the “what” of this verse.  Paul says that he can do all thingsWe have already seen the all is all inclusive.  Now we need to think about the object of all which is the things that we think, say and do.  Is there any limits to things?  I think not.  Again we need to define things so that we can better understand the limits of the all of this VOTD.  Again Webster’s dictionary says of things that it is: An event or action; that which happens or falls out, or that which is done, told or proposed. This is the general signification of the word in the Scriptures; as after these things, that is, events.  So, whatever event or action or thought or idea or plan or word that you think, say or do, the secret is to realize that all things can be done and MUST BE DONE in the strength and power of Christ.  It is ONLY when we call on Him, it is ONLY when we TRUST Him, it is only when we believe in Him that He will enable us to do what needs to be done, which is all things.  We need to come to the point in our Christian lives that we realize that there is NOTHING that Christ can’t do and won’t do if we only TRUST Him.  But before you go too far, realize this…. He will NEVER EVER lead you into SIN.  NO, NO.  All things never ever includes sin.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 NASB).  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25 NASB).

Lastly, I want us to think about the how of this verse.  How can I do all things?  The ONLY way that we can do all things is through Him.  That is through Christ.  I like the way the New King James Bible words this verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).  In fact, I like it so much that I have a plaque on my desk that says this exact verse.  Why do I have that?  Because I need a reminder on of how I am to think.  I need a reminder of Who I serve… I serve a risen Savor, who is in the world today…. I need a reminder of what my mind is to be focused on… Christ through whom I can do all things. 

So the question comes to mind:  How do you and I get the strength in Christ to do all things?  Well, first, we need to think correctly.  It is not “I” that gets Christ to do anything.  It is Christ who reveals His will to me and then I get the privilege to do all things that He wants me to do.   You see it is all about your will and who is directing your will.  You, if you are going to do all things through Christ then you are going to have to ask and receive His direction on what to do, how to do it, when to do it and all the rest.  You see you are simply and instrument of His doings.  That is the secret of the Christian life.  It is “asking” for His directions…”Lord, what would you have me to do in this situation” and then trusting Him for the “directions” that He gives your heart, mind and soul.  It is a matter of asking and receiving the directions from Him in all things that you do.  Then and only then does He give you the strength to do all things.  Why?  Because you are doing what He wants not what you want.

Our problem is we try to hide things from Him, exclude Him from our thinking.  We get to thinking wrongly, that He doesn’t see, hear or know because we refuse to think about Him and He will let our SIN slide.  He will let it go by.  He will let it pass.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Just as the preacher Robert G. Lee said: “There will be a Payday Someday” so it is true for our sins in the past.  One day, we as Christians, will have to repent of our sins if we are ever going to walk hand in hand with Christ again.  We can never know the power and the strength of doing all things through Him who strengthens me if we have unconfessed sin in our lives.

So the bottom line question is: Are you asking Him, Christ, for directions in your life for all things.  If you are, then you can say with Paul: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  If you aren’t, then your spiritual life is weak and sickly.  The only way to get strong in the Lord, is to confess our sin to Him and start trusting Him for all things. 

I want to leave you with one verse of scripture that is on my heart and mind.  I believe the Lord wants me to share this verse with you because someone who reads this VOTD need it: A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24 NASB).

Lord, I must confess that I am nowhere near where I need to be.  I need to be closer to you in all things.  I need to invite you into my life more often.  I need to get directions for my activities more often.  I need to pray more often.  Lord, I want you to be involved in all things that I think, say and do.  Help me to focus my mind, heart, will and soul on your thoughts, will and desires for the things that I am involved in.  And Lord, please help me to always call on you to direct my every activity.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


13 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:12 NASB  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

This VOTD is closely tied to the previous verse which says Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:11 NASB).  You have heard of the saying: Make do with what you’ve got.  Well, in essence that is what Paul is saying that he does in this VOTD.

First, Paul says I know how to get along with humble means.  What does that mean to you?  Well, I can tell you what it means to me.  It means that I can live my life in the Lord Jesus without having the best of everything.  It means that I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances if find myself in.  It means that I have learned to trust the Lord to take care of me in every situation.  Examples, you say.  Well, they are numerous but just a few of the simple examples:  I don’t have to have the latest and greatest cell phone… as some people do.  Just a working one will do just fine.  I don’t have to have the latest model tool or gadget… the old one will work just fine.  When I go out to eat, I don’t have to have the best restaurant… in fact I don’t even have to go to a restaurant… home cooking is just fine with me.

Humble means is making do with what the Lord provides without complaining about your situation or circumstance.  It is living with what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have.  It is being thankful for what you do have instead of wishing and striving to keep up with the Joneses.  But each of us are to examine ourselves in this area.  We don’t need to judge our brother or our sister and condemn them for wanting better.  Let each of us examine our own motives and desires.  And allow the Lord to tell us if we are NOT being content with our humble means.

Paul also says and I also know how to live in prosperity.  You know what prosperity is.  That is where most of us that read this VOTD live.  We live in prosperity.  Why do I say that?  Because it is true.  Look around you.  Think about it.  You are extremely rich by the world’s standards.  You have a roof over your head.  You have shoes on your feet.  You have a closet full of clothes.  You have a car and maybe two or more.  You have a job and have money in your pocket.  Let’s face it… You are rich by the world’s standards.  Why is that?  I believe it is due to one reason and one reason alone.  You are BLESSED by the Lord.  He has poured out His grace upon your life.  You have more than enough to get by.  You aren’t living in humble means.  You are living in prosperity!!!

But I want you to notice that Paul says he knows how to live in prosperity.  What does that mean?  It means that he knows where his prosperity comes from and he doesn’t think of himself as better than his neighbor who is living with humble means.  Just because you have prosperity doesn’t mean that you are any better than your neighbor who doesn’t have what you have.  The things you have doesn’t make you better or worse.  The kind of person you are on the inside makes the difference, not what’s on the outside.  Think about Job.  He had prosperity and then he had nothing.  The thing that really mattered was his relationship to God.

But I want you to notice the last part of our VOTD.  Paul says: in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  Question is: What is the secret that Paul had learned about being filled and going hungry?  What is the secret to both of having abundance and suffering need?  The Bible is very clear on the answer to these questions.  In fact, tomorrows VOTD is devoted entirely to this answer.  But for now these verses will give us the answer:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  (Proverbs 3:5 NASB)

So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you.  (Proverbs 22:19 NASB)

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it.  (Proverbs 23:4 NASB)

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.  (Psalms 37:7 NASB)

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  (Matthew 11:29 NASB)

Question is: Are you getting the message?  Do you understand the secret of being filled and going hungry? The solution is the simple message of trust in the Lord in all things and then you can FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

Lord, help me to remember this simple principle in all things, to simply trust you.  Whether I have an abundance or whether I am in need, let me trust you in all things.  For you have told me over and over again and again that you love me and that you will supply my every need in your love and grace that is found in Christ Jesus.  So Lord, when I am in need, help me to wait patiently for you to provide.  Help me also to know how to share with others around me.  Lord, I want to be yours in every situation.  Help me to have the mind of Christ so that I might do all things to please you.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


12 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:11 NASB  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

Doesn’t this verse say where we all WANT to be?  Don’t we want to be able to say the same thing that Paul says in this verse?  Isn’t this our heart’s desire to be able to say with Paul for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know that is my heart’s desire and I suspect that it is your heart’s desire also.

But the reality is different.  We are like blind beggar’s that are crying out in the market place for any scraps that some passerby will give us.  We beg and cry and strive but it is like we are digging in sand.  The more we try and the more we dig, the deeper we get.  It seems like problem after problem is our lot in life.  Is there no relief? Is there no let up?  Is this all what life is about?  Here is how James describes us: What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel … (James 4:1-2 NASB).

So what is the secret?  How do we get from where we are at to where we want to be? Because we ALL want to be were Paul is at when he says Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  My friend, I want to let you in on a BIG secret.  The secret is in the verse from James 4:1-2 that I quoted above.  For you see, I did not quote the entire verse.  I left off the very ending phrase.  Those three little dots at the end of the phrase means that there is more to the verse and here is the part that I left off on purpose: You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:1-2 NASB).  In this simple phrase is the BIG secret that if we practice the principle behind this verse, we can become just like Paul.  We can become content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

So here you are, just like Paul, in a cold, dark prison.  Very little food or water.  Horrible living conditions with rats and vermin all around you.  And you can truthfully say: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  The question comes to mind: How did you get in this frame of mind?  Whatever possessed you to think this way?  My friend, you get this way for one reason and one reason alone: You are trusting in the Lord for your every need.  You are trusting in the Loving God who loves you enough to die for you.  You are making your request made known to Him and you are trusting Him in His love for you to supply all your needs in Christ Jesus. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NASB).

I want you to see yourself in your needs, wants and desires.  So, the question comes to mind: What are you doing about them?  Are you whining and crying and complaining? Or are you doing what God wants by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).  My friend when you are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ then you are doing exactly what the ending phrase in James 4:2 says by asking God for everything and waiting for His answer.  When you are asking then you are trusting Him to supply your every need.  You know that He loves you.  You know that He desires the best for you.  You know that these words are true: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 NASB). 

But let me give you fair warning: You will not receive everything you ask for if you ask with wrong motives.  For James goes on to warn us saying that You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3 NASB).  Realize this that two people can ask for the same thing and one will receive the gift from God but the other will not.  Why?  It all depends on the motives of the heart and our God who searches the motives of men’s hearts knows what the true motives are.  You can’t lie to Him.  He knows the truth.  Let’s say two men ask for a job.  One man gets a new job and the other didn’t.  Why?  Examine a man’s motives and then you will see the “why.”

So the bottom line is this: in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB).  And as you see needs in your life Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).  And then realize that the outcome will be And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).  Then you can say with Paul the same thing that he said in our VOTD because you are Trusting Him to supply your every need: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

Lord, I realize from this verse of scripture that I am too needy.  Lord, help me to become more content in where I am and to trust you more and more each day.  I see you feeding Elijah in the wilderness with ravens.  Lord, help me to see that you will supply my every need in your love in Christ Jesus.  Lord, please use me this day for your good will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


11 September 2016 Verse of the Day

Philippians 4:10 NASB  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

What’s it like to be in jail, alone and uncertain of the outcome?  What’s it like when you know the whole Jewish nation and all of the rulers are against you and want to see you put to death?  How do you deal with the fact that in every town and village in the country where you were born, they seek to harm you and some actually do stone you and beat you with rods?  Paul tells us of his past: Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep (2 Corinthians 11:24-25 NASB).  And yet, he starts off this verse But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly…

Here is a fact that we all need to learn and remember.  We need to burn it into our brains so that it is permanently at the forefront of our minds: It is not THINGS that bring us pleasure but people.  So many, many times our sin nature makes us think “if I just have that new gadget” or “if I just have that new toy” then it will bring me so much pleasure and happiness.  When all the while nothing could be further from the truth.  All that “new gadget” or “new toy” will bring you is “more bills” and “more responsibility” in that you have to use it and take care of it on top of all of the other “stuff” that you already take care of.

Here in this VOTD we are told what brings “REAL” pleasure and JOY: people.  People who love us and want to help us and be around us.  Other people that we give ourselves to and share our lives with is where the real joy in life comes from.  Paul says that he rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me.  When you are alone and in prison in a strange land and you have Epaphroditus come with a gift for Paul from the Church in Philippi, your spirit is revived and you can rejoice greatly in the Lord.  Why?  Because you know that you are loved and valued.  You know that your work in the Lord has not gone unnoticed.  You know that you have put your life on the line and it has been well worth the effort.  Here are Paul’s own words: holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain (Philippians 2:16 NASB).

Here is what I believe the Lord would have us learn, know and remember about today’s VOTD: God the Father wants you to give your life to Him so that He might use your life to bless others.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB).

Paul goes on to tell us: You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men (1 Corinthians 7:23 NASB).  God bought you with the price of His precious Son’s blood.  He wants you to be free and not become slaves of men by being in debt to pay for your “things” and “toys.”  He wants you to be FREE to worship and serve Him.  He in turn will make you rejoice in the Lord greatly by being used by Him to help others.  When you see and know and understand how the Lord is using you to meet the needs and care of others, then you can truly rejoice in the Lord greatly.

There will be times that you want to help and can’t due to one reason or another.  Remember that God is in control of all and He will give you opportunity when the timing is right.  You simply have to trust Him.  It was much the same way with the Church at Philippi.  That is why Paul wrote these words: you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.  Paul knew they wanted to help him and show their love for him but they lacked opportunity.  When the timing was right, then the Lord allowed the door to ministry to be opened.

Another lesson for us to learn: NEVER force the door of opportunity.  Follow the Lord’s leadership and never force the Lord to do what is not in His plans for you.  Jesus said at Satan’s temptation: Jesus said to him … ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'”  (Matthew 4:7 NASB).  Remember: Following the Lord does not mean telling the Lord, but asking the Lord for directions.

Lord, help me to learn, know and understand these principles in the VOTD.  So many, many times I have been tricked into thinking that the “things” will give me pleasure and joy but when the newness wears off, they become nothing more than a pain.  Lord, help me to give myself to you so that you might use me to bless others.  Lord, I understand the joy that comes from others.  Please help me to give myself away.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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